Financial Benefits for Seniors (9/10/10)

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1 Financial Benefits for Seniors (9/10/10) Prepared by Broome County Office for Aging Programs are available to seniors that can save you money or increase your income. Eligibility requirements may apply and are subject to change during the year. When applying, be sure to check the most current requirements. Call the Broome County Office for Aging Senior Resource Line at to find out about the following: ELDERLY PHARMACEUTICAL INSURANCE COVERAGE (EPIC) Assistance in paying for prescription drugs. Depending on income, you are assigned to Fee Plan or Deductible Plan: 1. Fee Plan Pay annual registration fee of $8 to $300, plus co-payment ranging from $3 to $20 depending on cost of prescription. 2. Deductible Plan No annual fee. Pay full price of prescriptions until annual deductible of $530 to $1,715 is met. Then pay co-payment of $3 to $20. Eligibility: Age 65 or over. Not covered by Medicaid or other comprehensive insurance for prescriptions (except with Medicaid spend-down). No asset limits. Yearly income limits: Fee Plan - Individual up to $20,000 or couple up to $26,000 Deductible Plan Individual $20,001 to $35,000 or couple $26,001 to $50,000 To apply: Call EPIC at or Broome County Office for Aging at LIFELINE DISCOUNT TELEPHONE SERVICE Discounted telephone service for income-eligible consumers that lowers basic local service charges and eliminates subscriber line charge. May also provide discounted hookup charge. Total bill savings and benefits vary depending on your local telephone company. Eligibility: Receive or are eligible for specified government benefit programs, including Medicaid, Food Stamps, HEAP, SSI, Veteran s Disability Pension (non-service related) or Veteran s Surviving Spouse Pension (non-service related), etc. For information: Call Broome County Office for Aging at To apply: Call your local telephone company as listed on phone bill or in telephone directory to request application. Submit proof of eligibility with application. If participate in government programs listed above, attach copy of benefit identification card, copy of HEAP approval notice or copy of utility bill showing HEAP benefit. If income eligible but not presently receiving benefits through government programs listed, submit copy of annual tax return as proof of eligibility. Periodic recertification of eligibility may be required including documentation. (over)

2 HOME ENERGY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM (HEAP) Provides a direct, one-time-per-season payment to fuel vendor for homeowners or renters. If heat included in rent, you may be eligible for a renter s benefit. Must reapply annually, but those receiving Food Stamps should check with the Food Stamp department about the automatic benefit. Eligibility for season beginning November 1st: One-person household monthly gross income $2,129 or lower. Two-person household monthly gross income $2,784 or lower. To apply: If not on Food Stamps and either age 60 or over or receiving SSI or SSD, call Broome County Office for Aging at If receiving Food Stamps, call your Food Stamp Caseworker. All others call the Department of Social Services HEAP Unit at For heating emergencies: Call the Department of Social Services HEAP office at for energy related emergency assistance. Emergencies include disconnected service, a scheduled shut-off, no heating fuel or less than a 10 day supply, or unsafe or inoperable essential heating equipment. WEATHERIZATION REFERRAL AND PACKAGING PROGRAM (WRAP) Assists with energy-related problems or needs. Energy consultant will assess needs and develop a plan. Referrals are made to the weatherization agency and other community programs. Eligibility: Cannot exceed HEAP income guidelines (See HEAP description.) To apply: Call Broome County Office for Aging at and ask for the WRAP Unit. EMPOWER NEW YORK Those who meet income guidelines may be eligible for energy conservation education and/or a home energy audit, at no charge to the client. Some energy related repairs may also be provided. Eligibility: Cannot exceed HEAP income guidelines (See HEAP description.) To apply or for more information: Call Broome County Office for Aging at and ask for the WRAP Unit.

3 FOOD STAMPS Electronic benefit card with monthly allotment to purchase food items. Dollar value depends on gross household income compared to net household income after shelter and medical expenses are considered. Can be used towards Meals on Wheels and meals at senior centers. Eligibility: Age 60 or over or disabled. One senior/disabled person household monthly gross income of $1,805 or lower and net income of $903 or lower. Two senior/disabled person household monthly gross income of $2,428 or lower and net income of $1,215 or lower. (Other eligibility guidelines exist for under age 60.) To apply: Call Broome County Department of Social Services at MEDICAID Comprehensive health care benefits, including coverage for prescription drugs, physician services, hospitals, nursing homes and home care. Eligibility: Age 65 or over, blind or disabled of any age. Low income and low resources. Monthly Income Limits: Individual with no more than $767 and asset limit $13,800. Couple with no more than $1,117 and asset limit $20,100. Exemptions: personal car, home, health insurance premiums; $1,500 per person for burial fund, or any amount may be exempt if in irrevocable pre-need funeral arrangement. (Other eligibility guidelines exist for under age 65.) Note: Medicaid Spend-down may enable persons with higher incomes and high medical expenses obtain benefits after the individual or couple has spent down excess income to Medicaid level. Note: Spousal Medicaid allows community spouse to retain up to $2,739 monthly income and $74,820 in assets when other spouse is institutionalized. In certain situations, the community spouse may be able to keep more in assets. To apply or for more information: Call Broome County Dept. of Social Services at SUPPLEMENTAL SECURITY INCOME (SSI) Monthly cash benefits to meet food, clothing and shelter needs for people with low income and low assets. Eligibility: Age 65 or over, blind or disabled of any age. Assets may not exceed $2,000 for one person or $3,000 for two people. Income guidelines vary whether living alone, living with others or living in household of another. (Example: SSI Standard Benefit Amount for person living alone is $674 per month so inquire if monthly income is lower) The first $20 of monthly household income is automatically not counted. Exemptions: home; car up to $4,500 value; personal/household goods up to $2,000 equity; $1,500 per person burial fund, or any amount in irrevocable pre-need funeral arrangement. To apply and for more information: Call the Binghamton office of the Social Security Administration at or the national number at or call Broome County Office for Aging at (over)

4 MEDICARE SAVINGS PROGRAMS Medicare Savings Programs can help low and moderate-income Medicare beneficiaries pay for Medicare Part B premiums. Eligibility: Enrolled in Medicare Part A, eligible for Medicare Part B and meet income guidelines. To apply: Contact the Broome County Department of Social Services Medicaid Assistance Unit at Can contact Action for Older Persons at for assistance with application. Name of Program Qualified Medicare Beneficiaries (QMB) Specified Low Income Medicare Beneficiaries (SLIMB) Qualified Individuals-1 (QI 1) Benefit - What Medicare Savings 2010 Monthly Income Eligibility Programs Pay Individual Couple Medicare A & Medicare Part B premiums, deductibles, copayments and full subsidy Medicare Part D Medicare Part B premium and full subsidy Medicare Part D Medicare Part B premium and full subsidy Medicare Part D Up to $903 $904-1,083 $1,084 1,219 Up to $1,215 $1,216-1,457 $1,458 1,640 1) The first $20 of your monthly household income is automatically not counted. 2) Your monthly income is reduced by the amount of health insurance premiums you pay. 3) There is no resource test for these programs. 4) Qualifying for QI-1 also qualifies for full Medicare Part D subsidy. 5) Can be eligible for QMB only or for QMB and Medicaid. Can be eligible for SLIMB only or for SLIMB and Medicaid with a spend-down. Cannot be eligible for QI-1 and Medicaid. LOW-INCOME SUBSIDY FOR MEDICARE PART D DRUG PLAN Provides Extra Help paying for all or part of cost of monthly premiums, annual deductibles, drug co-payments and coverage gap related to Medicare Prescription Drug program. Eligibility: Medicare beneficiary with limited income and resources. Resource amount includes allowance for burial expenses. May qualify with higher income in some cases, such as if you or your spouse have earnings from work or support other family members who live with you. To apply: Call the Binghamton office of the Social Security Administration at or the national number at No deadline to apply but the earlier you become eligible, the sooner you save money.

5 SCHOOL TAX RELIEF PROGRAM (STAR) NYS program for reduction in school taxes for owner-occupied primary residences. Eligibility: Applies to homes, condominiums, cooperative apartments, apartment buildings or mobile homes. For Enhanced STAR must be age 65 or over with household income of $74,700 or less. For Basic STAR can be under age 65 regardless of income or age 65 or over with income exceeding $74,700. To apply: Call your local Assessment Office. Must apply for Enhanced STAR January 1 to March 1 each year. SENIOR CITIZENS PARTIAL REAL PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTION NYS program for reduction in property taxes paid on a residence. Otherwise known as Aged Exemption or Senior Exemption. Localities and school districts have option whether or not to offer this exemption. Eligibility: Property owner age 65 or over. Income limits vary by locality. (If qualify for Senior Citizens Partial Real Property Tax Exemption, you automatically qualify for Enhanced STAR.) To apply: Call your local Assessment Office. Must apply January 1 to March 1 each year. CLAIM FOR REAL PROPERTY TAX CREDIT FOR HOMEOWNERS AND RENTERS (IT-214) NYS rebate for real property taxes or rent paid for residence. Rebate $75 to $375. Eligibility: Maximum household gross income $18,000. NYS resident for entire year. Occupied same NY residence for six months or more. Residence not completely exempted from real property taxes. Real property market value up to $85,000. Could not be claimed as dependent on someone else s federal income tax return. Average monthly rent paid, not counting heat, gas, electricity, furnishings or board, was $450 or less. To apply: Call NYS Department of Taxation and Finance at or Broome County Office for Aging at May be able to apply retroactively up to 3 years. VETERANS BENEFITS Benefits include: counseling and advocacy services, service connected disability compensation, non-service connected disability pension, information on how to apply for Veterans Administration (VA) health care, veteran burial benefits, VA education application, NYS blind annuity benefits, replacement of service documents/medals, and VA cemetery markers and flag holders. Eligibility: Must be honorably discharged veteran or dependent. Requirements vary depending on particular benefit. For information: Call Broome County Veterans Service Agency at or call NYS Division of Veterans Affairs at To apply: Call the Broome County Veterans Service agency at to make appointment for Benefit Assessment. (over)

6 FOSTER GRANDPARENT PROGRAM Foster Grandparents volunteer approximately 20 hours a week with children at schools and daycare centers. Benefits include stipend of $2.65 per hour and paid days off. Eligibility: Age 55 or over. Low income. Note: Earnings do not affect eligibility for other government benefits. To apply: Call Broome County Office for Aging at GAINING RESOURCES FOR OLDER WORKERS (GROW) Matches older workers with people who wish to hire in-home help. Typical jobs include housekeeping, companion, repair/maintenance, driving, and yard work. Worker negotiates rate of pay with employer. Eligibility: Workers Broome County resident age 55 or older. To apply or for more information: Call GROW at from 8:30 a.m. to noon SENIOR COMMUNITY SERVICE EMPLOYMENT PROGRAM Provides 20 hours paid training/work experience per week and assistance with job search. Eligibility: NYS resident age 55 or older, low-income, unemployed. To apply or for more information: Call Experience Works at

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